Monday, March 17, 2014

The real deal, part I

14 Not until halfway through the festival did Jesus go up to the temple courts and begin to teach. 15 The Jews there were amazed and asked, “How did this man get such learning without having been taught?”
16 Jesus answered, “My teaching is not my own. It comes from the one who sent me. 17 Anyone who chooses to do the will of God will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own. 18 Whoever speaks on their own does so to gain personal glory, but he who seeks the glory of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him.

The real deal.
It's a phrase that is used frequently today. What is the opposite? Fakery, pretense, illusion.
How do we tell the difference?
It's ironic, but there are two movies in two different eras that illustrate this principle . . . in 1961, Tony Curtis starred in a movie (The Great Imposter) that was the fictionalized account of Ferdinand Waldo Demara Jr. who stole or created fictional identities and worked in a variety of occupations (most quite successfully). He worked as a prison warden, impersonated a monk and was also a doctor aboard a Royal Canadian Navy warship where he was required to perform an appendectomy. His impersonations (in the movie, at least) were more to allow himself to live different lives, as opposed to making any kind of personal gain. However, he did get in trouble with the law as a result of his exploits.
In 2002, Catch Me if You Can was released, and it was another true story; this time the story was about Frank Abagnale Jr., who before his 19th birthday was successful at conning millions of dollars in checks as he assumed the identities of a Pan Am pilot, a doctor, and an attorney. 

Both of these individuals were able to parlay their talents and the trust of others into schemes that resulted in gain for them. Their fakery and pretense were difficult to discern. They were not, obviously, the real deal.

Jesus, however, is different. Jesus is the reality, the real deal. The two men above looked like reality, but were fakes. Jesus, our Savior, is the opposite. Jesus, according to Scripture, was not handsome, and didn't look the part -- but He claimed to be, and was, the Son of God. Here was the God-man who looked like an everyday person. He did not look like a wealthy man, and worked as a carpenter. He taught like a learned rabbi, amazing all who heard Him. He preached like a prophet and did miracles like God. So, here is the man Who claimed to be God, and was not a fake. He's the real deal.

Let's dig in to our verses!
Jesus came out of His seclusion and He went to the feast when it was at its height. He went to the temple, to the assembled throngs who were there for the important ceremonies, and He asked people to make serious judgments -- not snap decisions like we humans are wont to do. Many times we simply make a quick decision based on surface appearance, right? That is how fakes get past us. But then sometimes we may decide something is a fake, and it's not!  Jesus pointed out to His listeners that if any of them were truly earnest about knowing if He was real, there was a way to determine if His teaching was from God: by choosing to do the will of God. 

Since Jesus arrived late to the feast, curiosity about Him had continued to build. When He arrived in Jerusalem, He headed directly to the temple and taught in the outer court. We can see that to some, Jesus was the reality that looked to them like a fake.
Look at verse 15 -- John shows that Jesus was an amazing teacher. The Jews were astonished, saying "How has this man become learned, having never been educated?" As all of the people (including the temple elders and the leaders of the religious sects) listened to His teaching, they were amazed. His knowledge and mastery of the Scriptures seemed incredible to them. His wise, authoritative explanations were undeniable. But how could an uneducated man know as much (more, actually!) than the great rabbis of the day? Why, He had not sat at the feet of the gifted, accepted teachers, yet He was way past them in understanding and knowledge! How could this be?

In verse 16, Jesus tells them the source of His incredible wisdom -- He says, in effect, "I'm not a fake, I'm real." So Jesus answered them and said, "My teaching is not Mine, but His who sent Me."  In that verse, Jesus is declaring the the reason His teaching is so amazing, is because it did not originate with Him. His message and His power came from His Father.

He gives all the glory back to the One who had sent Him.
Yes, Jesus was the real deal.
We'll continue with this, next time. Please join us.



1 comment:

Belinda said...

Basically I really need to pray a lot more. Ask for discernment in all things. That, and staying in the Word will help me determine truth and falsehood.

I am so thankful that Jesus is the real deal, and that my faith is in the true living God. How sad for those who refuse to believe that.